Employment and Labour hosts Fifth Global Conference on Elimination of Child Labour, 16 to 20 May
The countdown towards South Africa hosting an international child labour conference has begun – this is part of an effort to upscale action to end child labour.
During the week of 16 to 20 May 2022, the Government of South Africa will host the Fifth Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour together with the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The conference will build on four previous Global Conferences, in Buenos Aires (2017), Brasilia (2013), The Hague (2010) and Oslo (1997). These are landmark events that raised the issue on the political agenda, mobilised resources and set the strategic direction for the worldwide movement against child labour.
South Africa’s hosting of the conference is in line with Sustainable Development Target 8.7, that focuses on the elimination of child labour in all its forms by 2025 and the eradication of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.7 aims to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”.
Department of Employment and Labour Chief Director of International Relations, Sipho Ndebele said the hosting of the conference puts a spotlight on the African continent to step-up efforts in the fight against the scourge of child labour. He said the gathering comes amidst challenging circumstances for Africa.
Ndebele said: “failure is not an alternative. The conference is a call to action and build a social contract.
“We need to put children first. We need to learn from other regional initiatives. Through the conference we seek to reinforce multi-stakeholder solutions and global partnerships”, he said.
According to an ILO Report “Child Labour Global Estimates 2020, trends and the road forward” – global progress against child labour has stalled since 2016. Worldwide, 160 million children are engaged in child labour; 79 million of them are performing hazardous work. Child labour is more prevalent among boys than girls at every age.
This call to action presents a unique opportunity to bring about a world free of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour. It is a call to work together in innovative new ways.
Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward report takes stock on the global effort to end child labour. Published in the United Nations International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), co-custodians of target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the report describes the scale and key characteristics of child labour today, and changes over time.
The report said child labour remains a persistent problem in the world today. The latest global estimates indicate that 160 million children – 63 million girls and 97 million boys – were in child labour globally at the beginning of 2020, accounting for almost 1 in 10 of all children worldwide. Seventy-nine million children – nearly half of all those in child labour – were in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety and moral development.
The Conference is expected to be attended by head of states, 120 ministers, tripartite constituents of 187 member countries of ILO, United Nation agencies, academic institutions, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, media and civil society.
Ndebele said the world has regressed in addressing the scourge as eight million more children were involved in child labour. He said Africa was in a worse position than the rest of the world combined.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department of Employment and Labour: Republic of South Africa.